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    Don’t let ED get in the way of some festive fun

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      With the festive season fast approaching, some of us will be spending lots of quality time with our loved ones. Whether you’re snuggled up on the sofa in front of a Christmas film or sipping mulled wine, Christmas is definitely a time for romance. 

      While the idea of a romantic night with our other half might fill some of us with excitement. For people who experience erectile dysfunction (ED) or have a partner who experiences the condition, a romantic night in might be a little daunting. Busy schedules and overindulging can also make managing your ED more difficult. It can also cause the condition to crop up for people who’ve not experienced it before. 

      ED (sometimes called impotence) can affect men at all different ages, and it’s a very common condition, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’re here for you with some info on what might make your ED worse over the festive period, and how to manage this. 

      Why ED might be worse over the festive period

      The causes of ED are varied. It can be due to physical, psychological and lifestyle factors, or a combination of the 3.

      • Physical factors include high blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes. 
      • Psychological factors include stress, trauma, depression and relationship troubles. 
      • Lifestyle factors include smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not being active and drug use

      Over Christmas some of the psychological and lifestyle factors that cause ED might be made worse. Lots of us are likely to indulge in rich food and drink. Spending more time with family and the financial strain of Christmas presents might put pressure on a relationship. You might feel stressed about Christmas, or the fact that this year we’ve got COVID-19 to contend with too.  

      Alcohol and erectile dysfunction

      Drinking too much can lead to ED. When you’ve had a lot to drink, your experience of your senses is dulled. This might make it harder to feel sexually aroused and get an erection. 

      Drinking too much alcohol (more than 14 units a week) over an extended period of time can also cause ED. Alcohol slows and prevents the release of sex hormones, affecting blood flow to the penis. If you drink too much over a long period of time, alcohol can damage your testes. This reduces the amount of testosterone produced by the body, making it harder to get an erection. 

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      The link between alcohol and impotence is clear. So if over Christmas you usually drink more than normal, this might impact your ability to get an erection. This is particularly the case if you’re drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week for a prolonged period. So why not try some drink free days or avoiding alcohol if you’re planning on having sex? 

      It’s also worth noting that some ED treatments, such as Viagra, will not work as well if you’ve had a lot to drink. 

      Diet and erectile dysfunction

      A healthy diet and lifestyle can help to prevent some of the physical causes of ED. High cholesterol, high blood pressure and being overweight are some of the key causes of ED. Eating a more healthy, balanced diet can help reduce your risk of, or improve these conditions. 

      Winter can mean lots of us end up exercising less with the cold weather and short days making the idea of going outside a lot less appealing. Meals tend to be heavier and richer, we may even eat more than usual. It’s important that we enjoy this time of year and help look after our bodies in ways that feel good. Where possible eat a healthy balanced diet filled with seasonal veggies. And make sure you stay as active as you can. 

      But are there any particular foods for erectile dysfunction? There are studies that suggest that people low in folic acid are more likely to experience ED. So eating foods high in folic acid, such as spinach, broccoli, peas and brussel sprouts, may boost your levels. All the more reason to finish your sprouts on Christmas day!

      Can stress lead to erectile dysfunction?

      Stress and anxiety can cause ED. If you’re stressed it makes it hard for your body to focus on getting aroused and having sex. Any stress on your relationship can affect your sex life. If you’ve experienced ED in the past this can also make you anxious. This is known as performance anxiety

      Christmas can be a stressful time for a lot of people and 2020 is no different. Lots of time cooped up in doors, financial stress of presents and the addition of COVID-19 means romance might be the last thing on your mind. 

      If you’re feeling stressed or anxious you’re not alone. There are lots of ways you can tackle stress. The NHS have got some great ‘stress busters’. Don’t forget you can always speak to your GP. Charities like Mind have lots of really helpful resources and services to help you deal with stress, anxiety and mental wellbeing. 

      Managing ED

      If you’re experiencing ED there are lots of options to help you manage the condition. Many men try medication such as Viagra, Spedra and Cialis to help them gain and maintain an erection. Visit our online ED clinic to find out more about ED treatment options

      There are also other options for treating ED such as vacuum pumps, rings and for some men counselling may help treat the cause of ED. Find out more about alternative treatments for ED. 

      References

      https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/erection-problems-erectile-dysfunction/
      https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/facts/how-alcohol-affects-relationships/is-alcohol-affecting-your-sex-life
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZLpZPq6heI
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30547361/
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26302884/

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